Govt to withdraw notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter
The Centre has decided to withdraw its controversial plan of banning the sale of cattle for the purpose of the slaughter at animal markets, according to The Indian Express report.
“We sent a file to the Ministry of Law earlier this week, stating that we are withdrawing the notification due to several issues and will be revising it,” the official told the paper, adding that no time frame for the same has been decided yet.
The government’s move comes after the Ministry of Environment and Forests received feedbacks from states on its May 23 notification on changes made to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017 that prohibited cattle slaughter for religious purposes after purchase from the market.
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The banning of the sale of cattle for slaughter purposes drew severe criticisms that said that it was an attempt to impose the nationwide ban on ideological grounds.
Several cases of harassment and assault by cow-protection groups were reported from various parts of the country, with many based solely on the suspicion that they were carrying beef.
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The farmer community had opposed the move as well because restricting trade of animals meant for agricultural use in markets would mean that they would have an additional burden of taking unwanted livestock to slaughterhouses, which they cannot access directly.
Usually, the farmers bring their redundant animals to livestock markets from where traders purchase and transport the cattle to abattoirs.
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In September, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had hinted that the Centre may bring changes in the notification since the ban sparked major controversies, following which the Ministry asked states to send their opinion on the same.
Vardhan had said the rules were a “regulatory regime” for preventing cruelty to animals and the government “did not intend to directly or indirectly affect slaughterhouses or harm farmers” or “influence the food habits of people”.
In July, the Ministry had sent another letter to states after the Supreme Court ordered a stay on on the cattle slaughter ban imposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, where it had attached a copy of the notification and a note stating that a new draft would be framed based on feedback.
The Ministry also held consultations with animal rights activists and traders on the issue.
In May, a Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had put a four-week stay on the Centre’s notification on cattle sale in animal markets in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) upholding individual’s choice of food.
The High Court has asked the Centre and the state government to reply within a month’s time over the issue.